Will 10 seasons of added Alabama Football boldness hold if SEC goes to nine games?

Alabama Football has bold, future out-of-conference scheduling. Will it make sense if the Playoff Selection Committee is fuzzy on SOS or if the SEC goes to nine games?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This week there was much SEC football business to discuss at the league meetings. The world of college sports changed with the announced settlements of the three anti-trust cases. What had been contentious in the past, the SEC going to a 9-game conference schedule was given little attention.

The SEC will play an eight-game conference schedule again in the 2025 season. A year from now the conference may choose to go to nine games, but no serious discussion will transpire until the first 12-team Playoff field is announced in December.

Nick Saban never got much support from fellow coaches on his recommendation that Power Five teams should play only Power Five teams. Once Texas and Oklahoma were added to the SEC, Saban somewhat backed off on his preference for the SEC to play a nine or ten-game SEC season. For current coaches, any disparity in strength of schedules (SOS) and how those disparities could affect Playoff selections is a real concern.

Saban and Greg Byrne decided a few years ago to toughen the Crimson Tide's annual out-of-conference schedules. Beginning in the 2025 season, and continuing through the 2034 season, the Alabama Crimson Tide has two Power Four, out-of-conference opponents every season. A full list of those games is provided below.

2025 Alabama Football Out-of-Conference

  • Aug. 30 - at Florida State; Sept. 6 - Louisiana- Monroe; Sept. 13 - Wisconsin Badgers; Nov. 22 - Eastern Illinois
  • 2026 - at West Virginia; South Florida and Florida State in Bryant-Denny
  • 2027 - West Virginia in Tuscaloosa and at Ohio State
  • 2028 - Ohio State and Tennessee-Martin in Tuscaloosa and at Oklahoma State
  • 2029 - at Notre Dame and Oklahoma State in Tuscaloosa
  • 2030 - at Georgia Tech and Notre Dame at Bryant-Denny
  • 2031 - Georgia Tech (home) and at Boston College
  • 2032 - Arizona (home) and at Minnesota
  • 2033 - at Arizona and Minnesota (home)
  • 2024 - at Virginia Tech and Boston College (home)

The future schedules are provided by fbschedules.com. It is not known how many of the games have executed contracts.

Should the SEC adopt a nine game conference schedule for 2026 and beyond, will Alabama Football continue to be so bold in its scheduling? Again, the first 12-team Playoff selections will impact such decisions.

Based on one ranking of 2024, SOS, Alabama has the SEC's third-toughest schedule. Only Florida and Vanderbilt are ranked with tougher schedules. Until the CFB Playoff Selection committee provides some clarity on its use of SOS, knowing the best level of schedule difficulty is impossible.